Logsdon News

Dr. R. Alan Culpepper explores ‘Themes from the Gospel of John’ at the Knight Lectures


In 2003, Dr. R. Alan Culpepper spoke at the first George Knight Lectures. He returned to Logsdon Oct 16-17 as this year's featured speaker, addressing the topic ‘Themes from the Gospel of John.’ Attendees included students, faculty, staff, members of the community, and George Knight himself.

Dr. Travis Frampton, Professor of Biblical Studies and head of the Logsdon's Lectures and Special Events Committee, read a line from one of Culpepper’s books to preface the evening.

“I have come to distract you from your distractions. May God deny you peace but give you glory,” he said.

The first lecture addressed “Creation Ethics in the Gospel of John.” Dr. Culpepper explained that John is rooted in Jewish tradition that grounded ethics both in creation and in covenant.

He outlined the new approach to John’s ethics that considers not just moral instructions, but the whole story and its underlying value system.

“In the gospel of John, Jesus not only gave us the commandment of love, but he lived a life of love,” said Culpepper.

He explored John’s theme of love and its fulfillment. He explained that divine love achieves its aim when human love is fully and vividly exercised.

Dr. Culpepper also identified the theme of life in John. He cited scriptures where Jesus described himself as the living water, the bread of life, and the way to have eternal life.

He concluded that a creation ethic speaks to one’s obligations to every other human being and also to creation itself.

The lecture was followed by a time of questions and a reception.

The second lecture was titled “Knowledge of God: Prophetic Vision and Johannine Theme.” Culpepper began the lecture with his father’s favorite verse: Habakkuk 2:14—“The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

For Culpepper, this knowledge of God is the foundation for relationships with God, relationships with others, and for missions. He explained that God created us with an innate need for His fellowship.

“Knowing God means being conscious of being known by God,” he said.

In the Old Testament, the prophets should have known God, but they did not. Dr. Culepper explained how the Gospel is the answer to the problem of the prophets. Jesus came down to earth so that people could have fellowship with God.

“Knowledge of God is not contemplation of God, but communion with God,” said Dr. Culpepper.

Dr. Robert Ellis, associate dean for academics for Logsdon Seminary, closed the lectures in prayer by echoing Paul’s words from Philippians 3:10.

“Help us know [Christ] and the power of his resurrection,” he said.